Some people say I am too optimistic and that I always predict career years for the Dodgers, so I thought I’d post what I said last year. This is from a February 16, 2009 post, which was BEFORE O-Dog and Manny were signed:
1B- James Loney is quietly becoming a force at 1B. He will win a Gold Glove soon and should be a .300 hitter with 20 HR and 100 RBI. That puts him near the top at his position.
2B- Blake DeWitt will be the official starter, but Mark Loretta will start against tough LH pitchers. I predict that this platoon will produce a BA of .270/20 HR and 70 RBI from the #8 hole.
SS- If Rafael Furcal stays healthy, he is one of the top impact players in the game.
3B- Casey Blake provides a very important mental toughness which will help his young teammates. The versatility of DeWitt (2B, 3B) and Blake (3B, 1B, LF, RF) allows Joe Torre to “rest” Russell Martin at 3B on certain days. Blake could also see some time in LF.
LF- Andre Ethier will be a year better and I project him at .300/25/100. He is an excellent LF as well, with a very good arm. He’s not as soft as he once was.
CF – Juan Pierre has to play here. He’s not the greatest CF ever, but he covers more ground than Kemp and has more experience. He needs to play there if Manny is not signed.
RF – Matt Kemp is possibly the offensive key to our season. If he continues to improve, and realizes more of his potential (he reported with the pitchers and catchers to Spring Training), he will not be just be the Bison, but he’ll also be the Monster. I expect him to hit near .300 with 25-30 HR and 110 RBI from the Cleanup Spot. He will also have about 15-20 Outfield Assists.
C- This will be the year that Russell Martin distances himself from most other catchers in baseball. His hitting and defense will be elevated, but most importantly, he will become the Dodgers captain.
OK, how did I do? Loney was short of .300 and while he did have 90 RBI, his power didn’t yet amnifest itself, but I wasn’t far off. O-Dog played 2B so I am returning to my prediction at 2B for DeWitt and Carroll. Raffy had a bad year – I don’t know if it was injury related but it wasn’t good. Blake was what he was. I “underestimated” Ethier and “overestimated” Martin. My prediction on Kemp was pretty accurate.
So, where’s the beef?
In the same post I said:
This team is a lot better than most of you think, even without Manny! For the record, if Manny doesn’t sign with us, it will be with the Yankees, which would make more of their outfielders available. I still don’t see anyone beating the Dodgers offers to Manny because baseball expects to be hurting this year. The Dodgers have sold half of the season tickets they projected for spring training and all the teams realize that with the economy more and more people will cut back on games and cut back on what they buy at the park. You are kidding yourself if you think someone will pay Manny more than the Dodgers – certainly not the Giants! One final thing. If Manny doesn’t sign, we still can sign Orlando Hudson and put him at 2B, move Dewitt to 3B and platoon Blake and Pierre in the OF. Just a thought…
You never know how things will play out, but I wasn’t too far off!